Thursday, October 18, 2012

Presidential debates: substance and decorum

Presidential debates are not, and should not be allowed to deteriorate into "reality" TV shows of the ilk of "The Jersey Shore", "The Housewives of Hollywood", "Judge Judy" who routinely calls citizens "stupid" for her $45 million dollars annual salary, or the current "American Idol", where two Black women, Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey are made to fight and curse each other out, for the show to be considered "successful".
This unfortunate trend in American pop culture should stop if at all possible, and certainly not come down to affect presidential debates' substance and decorum.
I am also very weary and wary of all of these much-touted and so-called "close", 2 to 4 point margins in presidential election polls, such as those from the Bush I - Clinton, Bush II - Gore, Bush II - Kerry, or now Obama - Romney electoral campaigns.
Indeed, those numbers seem to be kept artificially "close" to create and maintain the hype around the election, just like that of any other major music or sports event, in order to keep the hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising revenues, flowing into the lap of media (the fourth power), which is the main beneficiary of all of this competition from both, and all sides.
At least one or a couple of free access 24 hours-7 days a week national broadcast televison channels dedicated to federal government affairs and elections, would go a long way in cutting through much of the pundits' noise, curbing the billions of dollars in TV ads electoral campaign expenses, and keeping the interested citizenry truly informed of all the relevant issues.
President Obama has done and continues to do a great deal for the people, the economic recovery, healthcare, the auto industry, jobs creation, women's rights, green energy, education, student loans, historically Black colleges, end to home foreclosures, the Dreamers, comprehensive immigration reform, stopping the wars in Iraq and soon Afghanistan, consumer protections, equity and justice in taxation, and on, and on...
In addition, the next President will also have the opportunity to nominate 4 or so new judges on the US Supreme Court during the next term, and change for good or for bad, the entire course of this country's history for the next 20 to 50 years. Let Obama be that President, for the sake of the people and the sake of the nation.
Obama 2012! Let's Fall in Love Again. Let's Do it Again!
Wear your Obama gear, buttons, t-shirts, caps, totes and all, register at and make phone calls to swing states from the comfort of your own home. Making a few calls or a hundred or more calls per week, is an extremely effective way to campaign and help win an election. Just do it.

Join a local campaign team, on the same website,, knock on doors, organize an event, go to an event, have a debate-watch party, discussions, register people to vote, bring family and friends to vote, and don't take anything for granted.

Donate at, or mail your donation (nothing is too small or too big) to:
Obama-Biden 2012, P.O. Box 802798, Chicago, IL 60680.
Tel: 312-698-3670
Register to Vote. Vote on November 06th 2012.
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Obama 2012! Let's Fall in Love Again! Let's Do it Again!

Paule-Sylvie Yonke

"You cannot plow a field by turning it over in your mind" Unknown
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Thursday, October 11, 2012


Kenyans protest lawmakers' bonus award of $110,000

President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya has rejected the $110,000 that greedy Kenyan legislators awarded to themselves, exposing the ugly truth about the corrupt enrichment of African legislators at the expense of poor citizens whose salaries don't even come to one percent the income that these legislators make.  Already, Kenyan legislators enjoy one of the highest salaries that legislators make, about $10,000 or $120,000 annually.

That figure is almost seven times the salary that President Robert Mugabe makes a year, despite all the criticism about his governance.

On one hand, it would appear that Nigerians have accepted their fate, while on the other, for now, because of protests by Kenyans, Kibaki has done a Robin Hood on these legislators, rejecting their unsavoury glutinous ambitions; but if history is a lesson, we know these kleptomaniacs will try again.(Read more)
Chika A. Onyeani
African Sun Times:
Host: All Africa Radio:
Tel.: 973-675-9919
Fax: 973-675-5704
Cell: 917-279-4038

"It is not what you call me, but what I answer to, that matters most" - Capitalist Nigger: The Road to Success, Onyeani's internationally acclaimed No. 1 bestselling book.

Have you bought Onyeani's new blockbuster novel, The Broederbond Conspiracy, or, adapted by the San Francisco State University "to teach students how to write a spy novel."

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Letter to Obama and DOJ demands Federal Action to Stop the Epidemic of Extrajudicial Killing of Black People

Malcolm X Grassroots Movements demands Federal Action to Stop the Epidemic of Extrajudicial Killing of Black People

An epidemic of extrajudicial killings by the police is plaguing the Black community, and the Federal government is doing next to nothing to address it.

Since January 1 the police, off duty officers and deputized vigilantes have killed more than 140 Black people. A few of these cases have received Federal attention in the form of investigations that were brought about largely by public outrage and protest.  The vast majority however, have largely been ignored by the Federal government and relegated to isolated incidents by local, often very discriminatory, District Attorneys and Court Systems.

This epidemic must cease. The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement is demanding that President Barack Obama and the Justice Department intervene immediately to stop these killings.

 "The Federal government must apply the tremendous resources it has at its disposal to bring law enforcement in line and make it respect the human rights of Black people", says Malcolm X Grassroots Movement organizer Kali Akuno. "The government has an obligation to respect, protect, and fulfill these rights, and to do everything within its power to protect the lives of Black people."

Zayd Malik, of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement says, "We demand some tangible solutions. The least the government can do is issue Federal injunctions against the Police departments where these extrajudicial killings have occurred. The government has no excuse. The same effort and power the government puts into surveilling and detaining millions of people, must be put into protecting our people."

The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement is calling for a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice to serve as comprehensive solution to the epidemic of extrajudicial killings confronting the Black community, but also to address the ongoing crisis of racial profiling, mass incarceration, economic inequality, and systemic racism confronting Black and other racial minority communities.

To read the Every 36 Hours Report on the Extrajudicial Killing of 120 Black People visit For more information on the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement or the No More Trayvon Martins Campaign visit



To President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder,

In the first six months of 2012, one Black person every 36 hours was executed in the United States. Since January 1, 2012, police and a much smaller number of security guards and self-appointed vigilantes have murdered at least 120 Black women, men and children. This national epidemic of police brutality and extrajudicial killing confronted by the Black community throughout the United States has been thoroughly documented by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement in its report, "Every 36 Hours: Report on the Extrajudicial Killing of 120 Black People" issued on July 16, 2012. This report can be found at

As noted in the report, this epidemic constitutes an egregious human rights crisis that the Federal Government has a fundamental obligation to address. As party to the Convention to Eliminate all forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) the United States government has an obligation to protect the lives of racial minorities. It is also obligated under various civil rights laws and executive orders to protect the lives of African Americans.

The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement urges your administration to take progressive steps to address this crisis. For that matter, it is incumbent that your administration engages in the following corrective measures to respect, protect, and fulfill the civil and human rights of African Americans:

1.     A Federal investigation into the civil and human rights violations taking place with the impunity of local police forces throughout the country.
2.     A Federal review of the rules of engagement authorizing the use of deadly force being employed by police forces throughout the country.
3.     The creation of a Federal database, in line with the 2008 CERD Committee recommendations, that documents cases of extrajudicial killings and acts of police brutality against racial minorities throughout the United States.
4.     The issuing of Federal injunctions against those police departments where two or more extrajudicial killings of Black people have occurred over the past nine months.
5.     The issuing of Federal consent decree's authorizing the creation of locally elected Police Control Boards in cities and/or counties that demonstrate patterns of systemic racial profiling, police brutality, and extrajudicial killing.

Racial Profiling, Police Brutality, and Extrajudicial Killings of Black people are not isolated phenomenon. They all exist within a broader social framework shaped by the legacy of institutional racism in the United States. It is peremptory that the government administration systematically addresses the root causes of the aforementioned oppressive and racist practices by developing a comprehensive strategy and establishing a federal plan to put an end to racial discrimination and inequity. To this end, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement strongly advocates for a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice that will create an integrative policy framework to address these ills and protect the fundamental human rights of racial minorities living within the jurisdiction of the United States. 

We look forward to hearing how your administration will address this current epidemic of Extrajudicial Killing and legacy of institutional racism that underlies it.

The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement can be contacted to address these issues and explore the alternatives we pose. To address further please contact Kali Akuno at

Thank you for your consideration.

Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
Tuesday, October 9, 2012 
Kali Akuno

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Are you a Black owned Business?

We Gave Away Our Power, We Can Take It Back

A great friend of mine, has a saying, "If you can't find a job, create one." ~Treshina Johnson, owner of Zelophahad's Daughter.
The unemployment rate for blacks rose to 14.4% from 13.6% in May, the Labor Department reported Friday. That's a sharp contrast to the white unemployment rate, which stayed put at 7.4%, and the Hispanic rate, which held at 11%.This trend is not a new one, as the black unemployment rate has been roughly double that of whites since the government started tracking the figures in 1972. ~CNN

There is a system that the Asian community follows. They have established an area of profitable community in almost every major city. What some of us don't know, is that we also have had our own places of greatly established communities. Black Wall Street, is an example of what we have accomplished when we build community. We owned planes, banks, grocery stores, and so much more. Beyond that, we were able to not only create jobs for our families and friends, but also teach our children to become business owners as well.

  We as a people have the largest buying power in the United States! So, my question I ask you today is;
If we are spending more money than every other race, why isn't our money coming back to our communities?
 Are you ready to rebuild Black America?                                                                                                                       


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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Cynthia McKinney: An Open Letter on the Occasion of the NY Seating of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine

This weekend, anti-war protests are taking place all over the world.  I do believe that the position of the vast majority of the world's people is one that is utterly tired of a hungry war machine ignited by gangster bankers concomitantly devouring the money resources of the world's people.  There is a growing awareness of exactly where the problem lies:  it is not in the millions of working people who struggle every month just to make ends meet; it is not in the immigrant fleeing the intentional destabilization of her homeland; it is not in the descendants of Africans imported from Africa for enslavement; it is not in the right-wing White person misled to believe that individuals from the foregoing groups are his enemy; it is not in the group of people who pray to Allah; it is not in the people on the street this weekend demanding peace and an end to war.  It is clear that those who helped construct this current society and now preside over it are also the ones who benefit from having things as they are today.  Increasingly, more and more of us are paying an even higher price for them to continue their privilege because enough is never enough for them.  Real change, then, requires not only changes in the names, color, ethnicities, languages spoken, religion, or gender of those who preside over the current political state of affairs.  Real change requires dismantling the current political, economic, and social structures that serve only the interests of an elite to whom current elected office holders answer.  In short, the kind of change that people thought they were voting for in 2008.  I have consistently drawn attention to the need for this kind of deep, structural change.  Therefore, this Open Letter addresses what is happening to me as I challenge a system that no longer serves the interests of the people and push for the kind of change that will really make a difference.

As I write this, I note the irony that I am currently conducting research in order to write a paper on the violent repression carried out by individuals acting on behalf of the United States government against certain political actors of the 1960s and early 1970s.  It was during this research that I came across the notion of "soft repression" and immediately recognized myself in what I was reading.  I said to myself as I read, "Hey, that's me."  So, I decided to write this Open Letter in order to blow the cover off a secret that I have walked with for years.

"Soft repression" tactics include ridicule, stigma, and silencing.  I have experienced and continue to experience each one of these types of targeting.  I routinely receive hate mail and withstand very active organized attempts to ridicule, stigmatize, and eventually silence me.  I routinely experience strange occurrences with my computer (typing by itself) and telephone (answered by someone before it even rings on my end), and more.  Strange things happen to my friends and to the friends of my friends (like police stops for nothing, and worse, calls to remote immigrant acquaintances asking for information about me).

Not too long ago, I received a call from a lawyer with the ACLU who tracks politically-inspired civil liberties violations and he told me that my name came up in a Texas Fusion Center of the Department of Homeland Security document as someone, associating with former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and traveling to Lebanon with him, who should be surveilled for any attempts engaged in by me to push Sharia law for the U.S.  It's ludicrous, I know.  It's even more ludicrous that U.S. tax dollars are being spent to surveil people for this stupidity.  But there it is.

More recently, Congresswoman Maxine Waters courageously asked the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Robert Mueller, at a Congressional Hearing if the FBI was surveilling me because she had documents that suggested that due to my political beliefs and inflammatory words uttered by others after my 2006 campaign election theft that placed blame for the unfortunate election results on Jewish Israel partisans inside the U.S.

I have been stalked (unfortunately, the prosecution occurred under a false identity as a Muslim Pakistani) and thank goodness to local authorities, the perpetrator spent time in jail until his high-priced lawyer bailed him out, and the individual with the false identity was convicted of stalking.  Upon my return to the U.S. from Cape Town, South Africa at which the Russell Tribunal found that Israel practices its own unique form of apartheid, I was notified by my local FBI office that I was the subject of a terroristic threat, along with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama, by some poor hillbillies from the north Georgia mountains.  The FBI offered to protect me from any other hillbillies who might get funny ideas. 

Well, I've been through this before with the FBI, when a journalist called for my lynching on my way to vote.  My alarmed

Congressional staff alerted the FBI--only for us all to learn, years later, that this particular "journalist" was on the FBI payroll at the time that he made those reprehensible remarks.

I have lived with this "soft repression" since, as a Member of Congress-elect in 1992, I refused to sign the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) pledge of support for Israel.  I will begin to document and make public what has heretofore been covert activity carried out by bullies who pick on the weak.  The members of my inner circle and I are extremely weak compared to the power and resources of those orchestrating and carrying out this "soft repression."

What could they possibly be afraid of?

I will answer my own question:  values whose time has come—truth, justice, peace, and dignity.  Not only for the elite few, but also for the rest of us:  everybody's truth and everybody's dignity.

I am honored to serve as a juror on the Russell Tribunal on Palestine.  I am honored to serve with Angela Davis and Alice Walker and Dennis Means as the U.S. contingent of jurors here in New York City.  Davis, Walker, and Means are giants in U.S. activism, demonstrating self-sacrifice, dignity, and great love for community.  I have been with this Tribunal from its opening Session in Barcelona, where I was the only U.S. member.  At these New York Sessions so far, we have spoken of colonialism, oppression, murder, and war with impunity.  Therefore, I in no way want to equate the unusual events occurring around me with the violence of the situation faced by Palestinians in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, the particular focus of this Tribunal.  I seek merely to expose covert actions directed at me, and people close to me, that constitute bullying and soft repression that would otherwise go unnoted and whose purpose I surmise is to punish me for my values and political beliefs that favor justice and peace, and, most probably, to dissuade me from future political activities.

Their plan will not work.  I believe in hearing everyone's truths, especially from those whose voices have been shut down.  I believe that we can only achieve justice when we are willing to face everyone's truths.  I believe that peace is achievable when justice is prevalent.  And I believe that human and planetary dignity will exist during such time as we all live together in peace.  My work, every day, is to advance this cause in the best way that I know, using the tools at my disposal at this time.
I have already received some requests for these documents that have been made available to me; I will make them available to anyone who asks.

Cynthia McKinney
Sunday, 7 October 2012

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Silence is the deadliest weapon of mass destruction.

"The biggest weapon in the hands of the oppressors is the minds of the oppressed." Steve Biko

"Make your spirit flexible, and nothing will ever bend you out of shape."  Wisdom by Taro Gold

Stop Menace-sters passing as Ministers from Misguiding Black People On Voting

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By Gloria Dulan-Wilson

  Hello all:  I actually started writing this before the first Obama/Romney Debate, and had to put it on the back burner to focus on the trickery, lies and deceit that the Mitt-Twit spewed out on live television.  But, I didn't want to allow it to distract me from completing this communique, so now, I'll resume:

It's October, folks, and I can breathe again – somewhat. Having attended both the Democratic National Convention and the Congressional Black Caucus literally back to back, September kind of went by on roller blades for me. Couple that with experiencing an equipment malfunction where both my computers decided to die at the same time, making it close to impossible to blog, this has really been an interesting and challenging month for me. {Camera died too, so I guess it's just time for a complete equipment overhaul – because, admittedly, while my Gateway and my Samsung have both served me well, I did put a hurting on them 24/7.}

Moving right along: In the grand scheme of things, all that is happening with us – the election of President Obama for a second term as President of the United States; the revelation of the rep-ugh-blican party as America's resident evil; the second chance for the Democrats to redeem themselves by correcting the ills visited upon America as a result of their neglect and disunity, which caused them to lose the crucial mid-term election – was a wake up call of the highest order.

The old saying, "a house divided against itself cannot stand" is one that the Democrats must heed well going into the second term under President Obama, because it is clear that the last two years of chaos was brought about by their combination "blue dog" democrat refusal to consolidate and cooperate under a Black president; coupled with the concept that they had "gotten over" and could now go back to the business of flying low under the radar.

Think of how much more progress could have been made – should have been made – had they not been playing fast and loose, when they should have been literally walking through President Obama's plans and completely turning around the economic debacle that had been visited upon us by eight years of Bush's rapacious administration. While Bush took a surplus and turned it into a deficit; Obama's requirement of taking that deficit and turning it back into a surplus would have been closer to a fait' accompli had the Democrats maintained their cohesiveness. A lesson learned is a lesson well earned. And going forward, the lesson is "Don't do that gain, ever! There is strength in unity; and we need all the unity we can get."

The same is true of the so-called negro Menace-sters (ministers) who have the temerity and gall to advise their congregation to not vote for President Obama. I had some really choice words for them but God told me not to say them; at least not in the context of my blog – so let me just say this: It's easy to sit on the sidelines and try to draw attention to yourselves by running a counter attack on the President under the guise of some religious belief. One can only wonder what other misguided directions are coming from you as you hide behind the pulpit, and some robes which you think make you "holy." 

Perhaps this is why this country in its infinite wisdom decided on the separation of church and state; having escaped from similar oppressive and repressive misguidance when they left their shores to come here to establish a new nation. Not because they did not believe in God, but because most of them did; but because the abuse of power by those in the pulpit had made their lives a living hell when it came to governance. 
President Obama is the President of the entire United States of America – including those with alternative life styles – get it? He is not the President in favor of one group over another group; he is the president of all Americans – get it? He has not stopped being the President of all Americans, nor can he.  

Now, of course, if you check your history, there have been Presidents of the United States of some Americans, and not others – Rutherford B. Hayes, Andrew Johnson (president after Lincoln's Assassination), Woodrow Wilson, among others - during segregation, Jim Crow-ism, etc.,when we were not configured in that group called Americans. 

So those of you who were living in the bad old days of segregation should be advising those who have never experienced those heinous days – days when we could not vote, it was against the law for us to vote, we had to pay a poll tax; and had to answer questions that no one else had to answer – that you never, ever, ever advise Black people to stay home and not. vote.  You are doing a disservice to your congregation; and that is a sin. You are misguiding your flock, and leading them into a ditch. You have absolutely no clue as to the sacrifices people made to make sure that our votes count. You should not be allowed to be on the pulpit if you don't understand the full measure of responsibility involved in every word that comes from your mouth - in short:  
YOU ARE MENACE-STERS NOT MINISTERS!!!!  How dare you!  Step down and let someone who is really doing GOD'S WORK lead the people.  You are unfit, unqualified and an abomination before all that is holy.  If Jesus had been there during your pronouncements, he would have driven you out just as he did the Pharisees and merchants. 

Concomitantly speaking, however, to the congregation, how dare you allow your selves to be led down a slippery slope into the path of unrighteousness!!..   For you to even listen to something of that nature and not walk out of the church is a sin. You already know that you are allowing false prophets access to your minds; and that is evil. Someone coined the word "sheeple" which connotes those who can be herded around without any volition of their own.

But what is even more evil is if you believe these fools, follow their words and sabotage yourselves and this nation by not voting for President Barack Obama's re-election on November 6, 2012. If you sit at home and squander your vote – one that many of us fought and died for – you are committing suicide.

While I don't know specifically which ministers are guilty of this egregious act of emotional and spiritual blackmail (of course I could find out – and put them on blast), I'm sure each of you reading this column do. I would be very concerned if they would be allowed to continue to minister, considering the fact that they have so little regard for the people they purport to serve. Again, as I have said, beware of false prophets, and govern yourselves accordingly. (Frankly, if it was me, I'd have walked out of the church, demanded the resignation, and done some spiritual circles until I found a minister who knew who he was and who we are – but maybe you like being lied to on Sunday – I don't know).

I wonder if they realize that Romney was a Mormon Church leader; and that  Mormons had racist policies.  Romney never publicly criticized or challenged Mormon church leaders on the policies, which were later repealed after Pres.  Carter threatened to revoke their tax exempt status.

According to San Francisco's "BeyondChron" News, "It's ironic that these Black ministers are calling for Blacks not to vote at a time when there's a concerted effort by Republicans to prevent African Americans from becoming registered and voting in November. Many of these laws were passed by Republican legislatures, and signed by GOP governors in battleground states with the intent to prevent or discourage African Americans from voting for President Obama and Democratic Governors, Congressmembers and state legislators. Some of these laws, such as a ban on early voting, prohibiting voter registration by non-profit groups like Black Churches and the League of Women Voters, and Voter ID laws have been overturned in the courts, and similar laws in other states are currently being challenged in the courts by lawsuits filed by the NAACP, the Justice Department and a coalition of Black ministers.

"Owens' group and other Black religious organizations opposed to President Obama's re-election have not been involved with efforts by the NAACP and other organizations to fight voter suppression efforts or to support African American voter education and turnout efforts.

"Many Black conservatives like to tell people what they think Dr. King's positions would be today on issues like on politics ... One issue where there would be no doubt on where Dr. King would stand today is on the issue of voting. Dr. King would denounce, in the strongest terms, any talk about African Americans not voting on election day.  If Dr. King were around today, he would likely say that there are too many important issues on ballots across the country that will have a critical impact on African Americans for Black voters to say home."

Moving forward, however, something rather interesting came to my attention, and I don't know if the rest of the Get Out The Vote (GOTV) organizations have caught wind of it yet: THERE IS NO UNIFORM NATIONAL DEADLINE or ID  FOR REGISTERING TO VOTE!!!  

 Actually , if  valid I.D. was truly an issue in voter registration, all they have to do is design a NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION CARD - kind of like the PassPort - with the individuals photo, name, address, date of birth, and state he is authorized to vote in, and make sure all American Citizens, who are over 18, and registered, receive one.  It would have a swipe on the back like a credit card. But then that would be too much like right, wouldn't it? Then all they would have to do is scan it as they go in to vote, to validate that it is indeed a real (not fake) voter registration card.  The voter could then go to the booth, pick his candidates, scan the card through the swipe, and go home - or party, or whatever.  (and if you use the idea, I want credit for the concept - thank you very much! - Gloria Dulan-Wilson 10/7/12)

 I had no idea that there was no set national deadline for registering to vote, until I started going down to Philadelphia to help register voters with the Harlem4Obama group. Pennsylvania's deadline for voter registration is October 9; Arkansas and other areas is October 6 – this coming Saturday; New York's deadline is October 12!! I am aware that there are some states that allow for early voting; and that absentee ballots have to be sent out by a certain time and returned in order to be included in the November 6 count; but what's up with the mixed registration dates.

 This is evidence that evil walks among us in the form of rep-ugh-blican machinations and manipulations to deter and deprive us of our right to vote.  Rights, I might add again, for which many of us fought and died so you could be full participants in this country.  And you allow some menace-sters to stand there and tell you some e-vile crap!  WAKE UP -- as Sam Jackson so eloquently put it in his video to you. Yes, to YOU! 

More to the point, if you have friends or relatives in those areas who have not registered to vote yet, and are not aware of the manipulation of the  deadlines, tell them to get on it. We need everybody lining up around the block to vote again like we did in 2008. It took all Americans – Black, White, Indian, Asian – coming together to support President Obama. It's going to take that same effort again. You don't want to show shaky while every one else is stepping up to the plate to make it happen. So if you have to hand carry your voter registration card personally to your local board of election to make sure it's there and you're duly registered – DO IT! Better safe than sorry and full of excuses and why fores.

In addition to the misguided menace-sters, it has come to my attention that there is a group of youth – between the ages of 20 and 27 – a new breed of politically ignorant "menaces to-society" who have had the temerity to say that they are not going to vote, that it does nothing for them. 
Businesswoman, Ruth Clarke, founder of Clarke Unlimited Personnel, actually had a conversation with an employee at the Harlem Staples store on 125th street back in August. She has made herself a one-woman voter registration center, and carries the forms with her to hand them out to people she encounters. We were totally shocked to hear the young man boldly state that he does not believe that his vote counts, and does not believe in politics. After spending about 10 minutes talking with him, giving him a historical perspective on voting for Blacks and his responsibility in regards to himself and his people, he agreed to register to vote. 

The frightening thing is that there are probably many more of our youth that we are overlooking who have the same ignorant mindsets. It's up to us to keep them informed about their history. They may not believe in politics, but politics definitely believes in them, and can cut for or against them. The insidious thing about voter nullification, when perpetrated by the rep-ugh-blicans is bad enough, but when we visit it upon ourselves, that's suicidal, stupid, and shows that we still are far away from where we need to be when it comes to being ready for prime time as a people.

The blessing is that they've had President Obama for the last 4 years, making it possible for them to get a quality college education, to reduce student loans, expand community colleges, open the doors to training. He is focused on bringing jobs back to the domestic shores where they belong. The list is super long on his accomplishments. But we have to make sure they understand what it means for them. Some how, in our overcoming, we forgot to keep our youth (and their parents) informed that this is a viable thing that has to be nurtured and kept alive, not to be taken for granted. Just because the benefits to African Americans is not in neon does not mean that we are not benefiting from all the President has accomplished (and he's done it the hard way, I might add) during his administration.

And now we learn that the mid-term election may actually have been stolen from us, with potential threats against the upcoming election, as well. It appears there is a direct connection between Mitt Romney's company, Bain, and the company that designs and manufactures the automated vote counting machines that may be used in the upcoming election. 

How does this news get out and be promulgated in the newsrooms, the blogs, the newspapers, and not evoke a massive national hue and cry for the recall of those machines, and the return to either hand-counted votes, or the utilization of machines more reliable and hopefully not tied to those who are looking to circumvent our votes through what ever nefarious means they can come up with.

Why are we still reading about this, and have heard nothing about an investigation on the part of the Attorney General's office, or the powers that be who run the national elections?As we go into the last 30 days before the election on November  6, 2012, there has to be some reordination of these machines, or they must be taken out of use completely.  We have the news, we must not be sitting ducks, sheeple, menaces-to-society or victims of menace-sters.  

Let's make each and every one of those days count; and at the same time put the menace-sters on notice that their days are numbered, and their number is up NOW.

If October moves as fast as September did, you will realize that we absolutely have no time to lose THE MENACE-STERS have to be sent packing immediately if not sooner.  The phrase "I Rebuke Thee!!" springs to mind.  

After that  we have to be about making sure that PRESIDENT OBAMA WINS THE ELECTION ON NOVEMBER 6, 2012.

You have four Sundays from today.
Last day for voter registration in New York State is Friday, October 12.
Vice President Joe Biden Debates Ryan on October 11.
Next Obama/Romney Debate is October 16. 

Stay Blessed &
Gloria Dulan-Wilson

Posted by

Friday, October 5, 2012

Stop the War on Women -- 15th in Series on Key Questions in 2012

Jobs * Social Security * Labor Rights
Medicare and Medicaid * Peace and Justice

Stop The War on Women!

No doubt about it, women are under attack. The popular term "war on women" accurately describes what is going on in the U.S. today. Though many use this term to refer to Republican proposals, the attacks are in most cases bipartisan, with Democrats either supporting anti-woman policies or agreeing to "compromises" that undermine women's legal rights, health, and economic and social status.

Lower-income women, who are disproportionately women of color, are the hardest hit. The current economic crisis and the war on women weigh heavier and in differing ways on women who face additional forms of oppression (race, immigration status, etc.) -- the vast majority of whom are also working class.

Employment Discrimination

While the range of employment options for women is one of the few lasting victories of the women's movement, equal pay is still a dream. U.S. women make only 77% of what men make. When race is added, this figure is even worse: Black women make 67.5% compared to all men, and Latinas make only 57%, which was the average wage gap for all women in 1963 when pay discrimination was first addressed by law. Besides, much of the narrowing of the wage gap has been due to reductions in male wages, rather than improved wages for women, due to declines in unionization and the loss of well-paid blue-collar jobs.

Though the wage gap persists largely because women are concentrated in low-paying jobs, it crosses races, educational levels, and most occupations. Even within the same employer, in jobs where women dominate, their pay is typically 20% less than in jobs dominated by men requiring comparable education and skill sets (an issue referred to as "comparable worth"), showing continuing discrimination in women's wages.

While women have had a legal right to equal pay to men in any specific job classification since 1963, a Paycheck Fairness Act that would have addressed comparable worth was recently rejected by the Senate. The right to equal pay, even where legally protected, is routinely ignored and hard to enforce, since employment in the U.S. is largely "at will" and employees can be fired without any reason given.
Only women with union contracts can truly expect to be paid the same as equivalent men, and, even in union jobs, comparable worth rarely is addressed and discrimination may affect women's ability to be hired, pass probation periods, or get promoted into higher-paying positions. Union women, though, usually have some job protection and a grievance process.

Though women also are impacted by the current economic crisis for reasons not exclusive to gender, the crisis does have different and often worse impacts on them than on men. For example, women and people of color have much less accumulated wealth compared to white men, and most wealth they do accumulate is via home-ownership only. Thus, the foreclosure crisis hit them harder, wiping out the entire net worth of many families. A higher percentage of women and people of color than of white men find work in the public sector, so they are impacted more directly by government cutbacks and privatization. Public-sector unions, especially the majority female teachers' unions, are under extreme attack right now.

Reproductive Rights -- the Most Direct Attack

Given that only women can give birth, it is not surprising that the most direct and blatant attacks on women are in the area of reproductive rights. Without the ability to control if, when, and how they give birth, women have little control over the rest of their lives. Yet, the right to choose legal abortion has been under attack ever since it was established by Roe v. Wade in 1973.

At the federal level, the most prominent restriction is the Hyde Amendment, which denies any federal funding for abortion, except for cases of rape, incest, or to save a woman's life. Hyde ensures that women dependent on federal funds, including active-duty service women, are routinely denied access to abortion, since they often can't afford, locate, or visit private providers. Also, the Supreme Court upheld the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, which prohibits a certain method used for medically necessary late-term abortions, inaccurately referred to as "partial birth," even when there is no chance of fetal viability and the method is in the best medical interests of the woman.

Restrictions at the state level are quite numerous. Most states require parental consent for minors and many require spousal consent for married women, waiting periods up to 72 hours, and exposure to anti-abortion films, literature, and counseling.

Current efforts, already successful in many states, focus on:

* Outlawing private insurance coverage for abortion.

* Denying state funding for abortion and to Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide abortions.

* Requiring that abortions be performed only in hospitals (where they are more expensive).

* Requiring that women hear the fetus' heartbeat, even though that often requires using an invasive transvaginal ultrasound.

* Putting medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion providers.

* Allowing medical providers to refuse to perform abortions, regardless of circumstances.

Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota have passed "trigger" laws, which will outlaw abortion if Roe vs. Wade is overturned. In 2012 alone, some 39 restrictions on abortion have been enacted by states, and 2011 saw a record-breaking 80.
In addition to legal attacks on the right to choose, nine abortion providers have been murdered and many clinics have been fire-bombed and vandalized. Aggressively hostile pickets trying to prevent access are common, though the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE), an important victory for women, outlaws outright blockades and provides additional legal recourse against persons with threatening behavior.

In most parts of the U.S., providing abortion is quite dangerous, requiring expensive security measures, which add to the cost. 87% of U.S. counties have no abortion provider. 25% of women seeking abortion have to travel over 50 miles and 8% over 100 miles.

Attacks on Contraception

Contraception has been fully legal throughout the U.S. since 1965, and 99% of all sexually active U.S. adults have used it at least part of the time, including 98% of Catholic women in this category. It is hardly controversial, regardless of objections by some religions. Yet, contraception is also under attack. Efforts to restrict it are usually posed as protecting religious freedom, as a means (proven ineffective) for delaying sex among teens.
Many public schools are now limited to teaching that abstinence is the only effective way to avoid pregnancy, despite the fact that abstinence-only education programs have resulted in higher teen pregnancy rates wherever they have been implemented. Refusing to teach young women how to protect themselves is a direct attack on their futures.

Many states allow pharmacists to refuse to fill contraceptive prescriptions if they have a religious objection to doing so. Efforts are underway to require women to tell their employers if and why they are seeking contraception, if covered by employer-provided insurance. Opposition to contraception indicates that the most important issue for the extreme right isn't abortion, which contraceptive use obviously helps prevent, but restoring the traditional patriarchal family model.

Violence Against Women

Personal safety is another area where women continue to face attack. Despite some significant legal progress, such as the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), passed in 1994, domestic violence, rape, and sexual harassment remain significant problems in the U.S. Government surveys indicate that 22% of U.S. women report having been physically assaulted by an intimate partner or date.

Women who kill or injure abusers in direct self-defense are often convicted and incarcerated, sometimes even with life imprisonment. Over half of all restraining orders are violated. Mothers are reluctant to report domestic violence because of a growing trend to prosecute battered women for neglect and/or take away their children on the grounds they have endangered them by being in abusive relationships. Though it has been renewed twice, VAWA faces constant defunding efforts. The most recent attempt to reauthorize the Act is now stalled, as Congress has yet to agree on a unified version.

What Can the We Do About the War on Women?

Thanks to a lot of effort on the part of union women, labor generally supports women's rights, but the political approach currently predominant within organized labor doesn't work well to protect them. Plus, labor support is often compromised by a fear of alienating members who may oppose abortion rights, sexual freedoms, and non-traditional families. We must push our unions to do a better job educating members why support to the conservative "moral" agenda works against their economic interests. Like racism, sexism divides union workers and the working class as a whole, making it harder for all of us to fight back.

On the political front, it is critical that union members and leaders -- and women's rights activists -- realize that the attacks on all of us are bipartisan. The current wave of austerity led by the Obama administration is a brutal attack on the whole working class, with women, particularly from oppressed communities, being hit the hardest.

In general, the Democratic Party does have a better voting record on specific women's rights issues -- such as the right to choose -- than the Republicans, but is not a reliable ally for any sector of the working class. Democrats undermine women's rights by their refusal to support them fully or vigorously. Without strong opposition, extreme right-wing positions opposed by the vast majority of voters are presented as mainstream by the media, promoted disproportionately to their actual public support, and eventually implemented. At a time when what we need are firm positions backed up by a real fight, what is presented as bipartisan compromise is, at best, cowardice and capitulation, and, at worst, backhanded, intentional approval.

Politicians of both parties receive their money from the same source: the 1%. Ultimately, they will implement whatever is expected of them by their donors, unless we organize a massive enough movement to make them fear losing our votes. Even if some Democrats sincerely support choice, only millions of people willing to take to the streets and withhold their labor if need be, will be enough to beat back the right-wing attacks.

In the broader community, we need to join with women's rights groups, especially to defend reproductive choice. Within our unions, we can and must:

- Fight for improvements for women in our contracts.

- Conduct educational campaigns about women's issues.

- Defend women against discrimination and sexual harassment.

- Encourage the participation and leadership of women.

- Support or oppose legislation affecting women.

Even with all its present weaknesses, organized labor is still the sole force in the U.S. based on representing only workers; that is, representing working-class people as a class. Thus, it is the only currently existing force objectively capable of politics truly in the interests of the entire working class, half of which is women.
Because no other movement or institution represents working-class people exclusively, other forces are more objectively vulnerable to ideas that reinforce racism, sexism, and other divisions. For example, a focus on getting women into corporate leadership does not promote equality for everyone; rather, it allows a few women, in the name of equality, to benefit directly from such practices as exploiting immigrants or polluting communities of color.

Sadly, dependence on the Democrats has led the U.S. labor movement to one defeat after another. Therefore, the most important contribution labor could make to women rights would be to break our own political chains. The Emergency Labor Network's call to create a movement for a Labor Party has never been needed more. The hard-won rights of women are on the line today, as is the very survival of the labor movement. Given the disastrous global trajectory of capitalism, with its wars, genocides, and environmental degradation, it is no exaggeration to argue that the very survival of humanity depends on independent working-class political organizing throughout the world. Building a Labor Party in the U.S. is a key component of that effort.

-- Issued by the Emergency Labor Network (ELN)

[For more information write or P.O. Box 21004, Cleveland, OH 44121 or call 216-736-4715 or visit our website at Donations gratefully accepted. Please make checks payable to the ELN and mail to the above P.O. Box.]